Category: Religious Principles

After Noah, his family, and the animals exited the ark, God gave a new command: put to death anyone who murders another person. Genesis 9:6 says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” The severest of penalties is to follow murder, and God Himself gives the reason for it.

God specified that murder was to be punished by death because of the nature of man. Man is created in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27). As murder destroys an image-bearer, it is a direct affront to God Himself. Humans are unique among God’s creations—none of the animals are created in God’s likeness—and murder is a unique crime.

Another, secondary reason for the mandate is quite practical. The immediate context includes another command given to Noah and his three sons: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). Murder, of course, would work against humanity’s being fruitful and multiplying. The death penalty for murder thus served as a deterrent to anyone who sought to thwart God’s plan to replenish the earth. This was especially important when Noah’s family first departed from the ark, at which point only eight people were alive.

Before the Flood, Cain had murdered Abel, and, although Cain was judged by God, he was not put to death (Genesis 4). Lamech, a descendant of Cain, also murdered someone (Genesis 4:23-24). By the time of God’s judgment in Genesis 6, it appears that crime was rampant, including the crime of murder. After the Flood, a new standard was raised as part of the recreated earth: God would no longer tolerate murder. Later, murder was condemned in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). The punishment for premeditated murder was death (Numbers 35:30-34).

In the New Testament, Jesus provided a wider application of the Old Testament command against murder. He taught, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:21-22). Murder is wrong, and the attitude behind the action is just as wrong. God sees the heart and its intentions (1 Samuel 16:7).

Murder is consistently listed as a sin throughout the New Testament (e.g., Revelation 22:15). Man still bears the image of God, and God’s view of murder has remained the same.

Be Ye Separate

All of God’s creation desires and longs for His promises to be fulfilled in their lives. The worst heathen in this life desires heaven in the next life. What they fail to realize is that what most refer to as “the next life” is in reality just a continuation of this present life. The only difference is we live this life in the flesh. We will live the next life in the Spirit. If we are to have a Spiritual existence, then the life we live in the flesh must line up with the Word of God. Today many desire to live as they choose, acquiring all the things of the flesh, and when they die to go to heaven. Paul warned the Romans:

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:12-13

If we are going to partake of God’s Spiritual existence, then we must mortify the deeds of the flesh. The word mortify means “to put to death, to render extinct, to be liberated from”. The deeds and desires of the flesh must be brought under the control of the Spirit. Paul gained the victory over the flesh, therefore, he could write:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Paul was not living his life to please the flesh. Paul lived the Christ life, the overcoming life, the victorious life. If we are to claim the promises of God, we must be crucified with Christ. Christ is the Holy Spirit anointing. The desires and lusts of the flesh must be subjected to the Christ anointing. As Paul proclaimed, if we live after the flesh we shall die. Paul wrote to the Hebrews:

“Further more we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:9

Those who do not subject themselves to the Father of spirits will never enter into eternal life. Those who desire to be part of God’s eternal promises must keep His commandments. The apostle James wrote:

“And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” James 2:23

Abraham was the only man in the Bible called the Friend of God. He became God’s friend because he believed God. In other words, when God gave Abraham a commandment, he followed God’s directions in obedience. God informed Abraham to leave where he had lived for seventy-five years and go without question to a place God would show him. He was to leave family, friends, property: and go. Abraham went in faith, trusting God as he went.

God also promised Abraham a son when he was ninety-nine years old. Abraham believed God. Isaac was born to Abraham when he was one hundred years old. Because Abraham believed, God brought it to pass. Then God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac for a sacrifice. Abraham never questioned God. He took Isaac, loaded him down with wood, took his knife, and went to where God directed him:

“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” Genesis 22:9-10

God stopped Abraham before he thrust the knife through Isaac’s heart. One may ask, “How could Abraham even consider such a thing?” It was because Abraham believed God. Isaac was Abraham’s promised seed. Abraham’s posterity was through this son. Abraham not only knew God’s promise, he believed God to fulfill His promise. This is why Abraham told the young men who went with him,

“Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Genesis 22:5

Abraham knew Isaac would return with him. How did Abraham know this? Paul disclosed Abraham’s heart in his letter to the Hebrews:

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11:17-19

Abraham had faith that if he had driven the knife through Isaac’s heart, God would raise him from the dead. Why did Abraham believe this? Because he believed God, and acted upon the faith he had in God. Abraham’s belief in God was his righteousness before God. We cannot attain to God’s righteousness without absolute faith and trust in God. By his faith and obedience, Abraham was called the Friend of God. Jesus made us this same promise. We, too, can become the friends of God. Jesus showed us the way to become His friend:

“Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” John 15:14-15

The only way we can become the friend of God is to be completely obedient to whatever the Lord commands. When we become totally obedient to God’s Word, we are no longer in the servant’s realm. Paul revealed:

“Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;” Galatians 4:1

Those who remain children will not inherit. Those who remain in the servants realm, likewise, will not inherit. God is not going to turn His kingdom over to those who are not totally obedient to His Word, His will, and His way. Those who rule and reign with Him will be His sons because they were first His obedient friends.

As Abraham learned, every promise comes with a commandment we must follow. The Holy Spirit gives us a commandment through the pen of the apostle Paul:

“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” II Corinthians 6:16

Paul informs us we are the temple of the living God. Then Paul asks, “What agreement does the temple of God have with idols, false gods, and the gods of the flesh?” These can never produce life.

God promised, “I will dwell in you. He did not say He would dwell with us, but in us. We will become the abode of God. He also proclaimed I will walk in them. Again His words were not that He would walk with us, but that He would walk in us. To come to the place where God can dwell in us and walk in us requires total submission to the Spirit. As Paul disclosed to the churches at Galatia:

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. Galatians 5:25

If Christ is our life, then He must become our walk. Paul continued with God’s commandment:

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” II Corinthians 6:17

If we are to be God’s people and be received by Him, we are commanded to do three things:

1   Come out from among them

2   Be ye separate

3   Touch not the unclean thing

God promises He will receive us if we accomplish these three things in our life. This sounds very simple, but how difficult are these steps? These three steps are not difficult at all for those who are totally sold out to Christ, whose total desire is to be the friend of God. These steps are only difficult for those who desire the things of the flesh, the things of the world, and to maintain their own identity instead of being identified with Christ. When our desires become His desires, when our walk becomes His walk, when our life becomes His life, then to accomplish these three things is a simple matter of obedience.

Be Ye Separate, Physically

What does God mean by our coming out from among them? When God commands us to come out from among them, it can only mean one thing. We are still among them. Among who? Israel was given us as an example. God explained to Israel what He meant by coming out from among them. God warned Israel before they ever entered into the promise land:

“And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against Me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.” Exodus 23:31-33

God’s promise to Israel was deliverance from the heathen nations, but God’s promise came with a commandment:

1  Israel was to make no covenant with the heathen

2  They were to come into no agreement with any of their gods

3  The heathen were not permitted to dwell in the land

God gave Israel a reason for all these commandments. God knew if Israel made covenants with the heathen, these covenants would entangle them with the heathens’ way of life. God also knew if Israel came into agreement with any of their idol gods, their worship would lead them away from His true worship. God also knew if Israel allowed the heathen to dwell among them, they would adopt the heathen ways. All these would become snares to His people. Paul related to the church at Corinth:

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” II Corinthians 4:4

The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which are not believers. They cannot see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. God knows if His people have any dealings with the heathen, they will be enticed with the things of this life. This is certainly evident in what is called “Christianity” today. God’s people desire the biggest cars, the grandest homes, the highest positions in the land. This is certainly true of the extravaganza displayed on the media as Christian television. Their painted up actors with their expensive costumes, expensive hair do’s, elegant stage props, etc, and their phony sincerity is displayed as Godliness. These look and act more like the world, than many of the lowliest worldly people. These certainly have not come out from among the heathen. They have become part of them, a mockery of everything God says we are to be. James warned:

“Ye adulterers and adulteress’, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4

Those who have become friends with the world have become God’s enemies. Yet God’s people continue to look like and act like the world. When the world views the nominal Christian they see no reason to change. God continued His warning to Israel:

“Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.” Exodus 34:15-16

God knows the end from the beginning. He knows if His people allow the heathen to dwell among them, they will go a whoring after the heathen gods. They will even allow their sons and daughters to marry the heathen, causing them to serve their heathen gods. Paul warned the Corinthians about being bonded together with the heathen:

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” II Corinthians 6:14

We are not to be unequally yoked to unbelievers. This means in marriage, in business, and in government. This also includes the church we attend. Unbelievers have no place in the congregation. This does not mean unbelievers cannot visit the church to hear the Word of God, but the Word preached should be so convicting that the unbeliever will change. If they refuse to change, they will not choose to sit under the Word that convicts them and their ways.

Today many marriages are performed in the church where one or both are unbelievers. This is not to be. The church of God is for believers. When the church becomes part of yoking an unbeliever with an unbeliever, they have broken God’s commandment against unequal yoking. Before the believer gets to the altar, the believer should be counseled against being yoked to an unbeliever. The believer needs to be informed if this relationship continues, the church will have nothing to do with the breaking of God’s commandments.

Many who call themselves Christian are in business partnership with, or work for unbelievers. We must always remember, unbelievers are heathens. The heathen way of doing business is not God’s way. When the believer is unequally yoked with heathens, the believer is asked or required to do things that are an abomination to God. Once the yoking or bonding has taken place, there is always a tearing of the flesh to separate yourself from the heathen.

Paul asked, “What fellowship can righteousness have with unrighteousness? This is true in marriage, business, the government, and the church. The same is true with our families. There are unbelievers in every family. When a family member is an unbeliever, he or she is to be considered a heathen, and are to be treated accordingly. Jesus’ words concerning the family and its members was recorded by Luke:

“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:  For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” Luke 12:51-53

Jesus came to lead mankind out of his darkness. Jesus brought division between those who choose to walk in the light and those who choose to remain in darkness. This is why Paul asked, “What communion hath light with darkness?”, II Corinthians 6:14. Jesus declared this division would cause three against two or two against three in the same household.

Many would say Christianity brings division, but most times it is not the Christian that separates, the heathen separate themselves from the believer. Jesus stated this division would be between son and father, mother and daughter, mother in law against daughter in law, etc. It is the heathen desiring the believer to do the things against God’s commands that causes the separation. Matthew recorded:

“And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:36

When Jesus spoke this, He quoted the prophet Micah. This separation is not new. It has been from the beginning. Sin caused man to be separated from the garden. Sin caused Cain to be separated from all mankind. In the book of Genesis, God separated light from darkness. He is still in the same process today. Jesus made this separation very plain. Luke recorded:

“If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26

The word hate is a very strong word and is used forty-one times in the New Testament. It is generally used in a negative form. We are commanded to honor father and mother. So to hate them would be a contradiction to God’s Word. The use of the word hate in Luke 14:26 has the meaning of “loving less”. Jesus also stated:

“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37

Those who desire to be worthy of Christ must come out from among them. If we hold our father, mother, wife, children, brethren, and our own life in higher esteem than our love for Christ, then we cannot be His disciple. Our God is a jealous God, and we can hold nothing or anyone, including family, above Him if we desire to be His disciples.

God informed Israel:

“Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.” Deuteronomy 23:6

We are not to seek the heathen’s peace or their prosperity. Yet the prosperity message still persists in the church today, teaching God’s people to desire the prosperity of the heathen. They also seek their peace by submitting to the heathen ways. Most who use the name of Christ do not let their light shine in the darkness. Light and dark cannot dwell together. Jesus warned all those who desire to walk in the light:

“Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” Luke 11:35

Those who do not come out from among the darkness will lose their light. Their witness will be that of Ichabod, “Thy glory has departed”.

Be Ye Separate, Mentally

We are admonished, “Be Ye Separate”. When God commands us to be separate, we must not only be separated physically from among them, we must also be separated mentally and spiritually. One may ask, “How do we separate ourselves mentally?” To separate mentally is to have a change of thinking. The apostle Paul wrote much about the changing of our mind. To the Romans he declared:

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

Our carnal mind is God’s enemy because it cannot and will not be subject to the law of God. Without a change of mind we cannot serve God. Paul informed the Philippians what they had to do if they were to be pleasing in the sight of God:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5

We are to be of one mind with Christ Jesus the risen, glorified Christ. Many would say this is impossible to do. It is, as long as we are thinking with our carnal mind, but when we come into the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we have a change of mind. Paul declared this to the church at Corinth:

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” I Corinthians 2:16

When the anointing comes upon us, we are to submit to the power of the anointing. It is through our submitting, we attain to the mind of Christ. Too many today work up the emotion of their carnal mind and call it Spirit. When we receive and submit to the true anointing our mind will change. Our thoughts will no longer be in bondage to the carnal mind, nor its corrupting influence in our life. Paul explained to the Romans:

“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” Romans 12:16

We are all to be of the same mind one toward another. In other words it is God’s desire for His whole body to begin to hear His voice, and be obedient to the mind of Christ. Paul warned the Romans “not to mind high things”. We are not to set our sights on worldly attainment, wealth, honor, or fame. We are to “condescend to men of low estate”. We are not to lift ourselves up above anyone. Paul explained to the church at Philippi:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

In this Scripture, Paul says we are to have “lowliness of mind”. We must put off the carnal mind and esteem others better than ourselves. To the church at Rome, Paul wrote:

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think: but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

We must separate ourselves from carnal pride. We are not to think more highly of ourselves then we ought to think.

We must come to the knowledge that without God we are nothing. Without His saving grace we are still in our sin and headed for eternal darkness. Without His anointing we are powerless to overcome all the frailties of the flesh. We cannot attain to Paul’s words with the old carnal mind. All the carnal mind desires is to lift up and satisfy the whims of the flesh.

We are to condescend to those of like minds. When we put on the mind of Christ, then we will think as Jesus thought. By Jesus’ own words we know His intent:

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

When the body of Christ attains to this way of thinking, then we have condescended to men of low estate. Men of low estate do not lift up self, but lift up Christ in every thought and action.

Paul also informed the Romans not to be “wise in their own conceits”. The word conceit means “our own opinion”. Many believe they are the recipient of all wisdom. These have only received the wisdom of the world. This is not the wisdom of God. The apostle James declared the virtue of Godly wisdom:

“The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be in treated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17

1.  Godly wisdom is pure, not tainted by the flesh.

2. Godly wisdom is peaceable. It not only permeates peace in the individual, it also spreads peace to all who hear.

3.  God’s wisdom is gentle. The word gentle means “equitable and fair”.

4.  God’s wisdom is not one-sided.

5.  God’s wisdom will stand by itself. Nothing needs to be added or taken away.

6.  God’s wisdom is easily in treated.

7.  God’s wisdom is easy to be obeyed.

8.  There is great confidence in God’s wisdom because we know God would never mislead us.

9.  God’s wisdom is full of mercy.

10.  God’s wisdom contains virtue.

11. God’s wisdom is always kind toward those who receive it.

12. God’s wisdom is full of good fruits. Good fruit builds God’s character in His people.

13. God’s wisdom is without partiality.

14. God’s wisdom comes without hypocrisy.

As James declared:

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

Any, and all, who desire God’s wisdom can have it simply by asking for it, but they must bring themselves into a place Spiritually to receive. This of course takes a change of mind. God has promised we can receive His wisdom liberally and without partiality. Paul informed the Ephesians:

“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Ephesians 4:23

When our minds have been renewed and self has been brought into its proper place, God will begin to bring those of like mind together. Paul foresaw this time when God would begin to renew the thinking processes of His people:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

When we allow God to renew our minds we will not only know what is acceptable in His sight, we will also know His perfect will, and desire to attain His will. But first we must do away with all conformity to the world. We must be separated physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is God’s desire for His body. Paul explained this to the Romans:

“That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:6

Be Ye Separate, Spiritually

To be spiritually separate is only possible when our minds are separated from our worldly thinking, and we allow self to condescend to a low estate, and esteem all others better than ourselves. God is desiring a people who have come out from among them, and have been separated totally unto Him.

In order to do this we must also be separated spiritually. In other words our spiritual house must be in order. Everywhere Jesus went, the first thing He did was deal with the demonic realm before He ministered. Today there are two factions in the church:

1.  Those who are convinced the demonic realm does not exist, and

2.  Those who believe the devil has co-equal power with Jesus, and we have no power over the realm of darkness.

Both factions are operating their lives in error. The demonic realm does exist, and we have all power over the satanic realm. Jesus proclaimed after His resurrection:

“. . . All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18

Jesus was given all power in heaven (the Spiritual realm), and in earth (the flesh realm). Jesus did not say He was given all power on earth, He was given all power in earth. When we submit totally to the Holy Spirit anointing in our life, then we have all power to deal with the spirit of darkness; not only in our life, but in the lives of others.

When reading God’s Word, we must constantly deal with the little word ALL. The word ALL is the Greek word PAS and means “ALL, everything complete, whole, nothing missing, nothing to be added”. It means ALL. Jesus declared ALL power is given Him in the spiritual realm. To attain to this Spiritual power, we must first allow Him to have all power in our flesh realm. When the seventy Jesus sent out to preach the Kingdom message returned, they returned with joy, saying,

“. . . Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:17-18

Our Father is still waiting to see His body deal with the satanic influence in their lives. Lightning is the symbol of the majesty of Christ being displayed in the earth. When this majesty became evident in the seventy, they returned with joy because the devils (demons) were subject to them through Jesus’ name.

If we are going to deal with the demonic realm, we must know our power and authority. Our power is in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and our authority is in the name of Jesus. When Jesus cast out a spirit of dumbness, the people accused Him of casting out devils by the name of Beelzebub, chief of the devils. Jesus asked the Pharisees:

“And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore shall they be your judges.  But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you.” Luke 11:19-20

Jesus stated He cast out demons with the finger of God. The finger of God is the power of God made visible to man by the Spirit of God. Jesus revealed His power to cast out demons was by the Spirit of God. There is only one power able to deal with the spirit of darkness, and that is the Holy Spirit indwelling in our life. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, our authority is useless.

When Jesus was addressing His disciples concerning His coming Kingdom, John came to Him and said:

“Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.” Luke 9:49

There was a man who was not a follower of Jesus casting out demons by using Jesus’ name. Our authority to deal with the demonic realm is in the name of Jesus. As the seventy declared, “. . . the devils are subject unto us through Thy name”. (Jesus’ name)

When we establish Jesus’ name as our authority and the Holy Spirit anointing as our power, the whole spiritual realm of darkness will be made subject to us. We will have all power over the spiritual realm when we allow Christ to have all power in our earth. Once His power and authority is established in our walk, then we can cleanse our home, our work place, and the area where we live.

We must be totally separated from any satanic influences in our life. When we do this we have been separated physically, mentally, and spiritually. We have become obedient to the commandment to come out from among them and be ye separate.

Touch Not the Unclean Thing

But this was not the end of God’s commandment to the church at Corinth. Paul recorded,

“. . . Touch not the unclean thing . . .” II Corinthians 6:17

The word unclean means “unclean in thought and life”. When God speaks of our uncleanness, He is referring to the way we think and the way we live. Paul directed the church at Corinth:

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Corinthians 7:1

God has made many promises. If we are going to claim these promises, then we must cleanse ourselves from ALL filthiness of the flesh and filthiness of the spirit. There are many areas of the flesh those who call themselves Christian justify. One of these fleshly areas is the use of tobacco: smoking, chewing, dipping snuff, or any other form of its use. It is filthy, obnoxious, and injurious to the health of those who use it, and to those around them. God commands we are to be cleansed of its use.

Another filthiness of the flesh is the use of alcohol. This, too, harms the body, robs the purse, and causes all those who use it to do things they normally would not do. Yet we hear Christians say, “I have a drink sometimes to relax.” They get so relaxed they cannot move, think, or function. The All-wise Solomon wrote:

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1

Strong drink is a deceiver. It is not for the wise. Solomon continues his admonition:

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:” Proverbs 31:4

Wine is not for kings. God informed us we are kings and priests unto God. Strong drink is not for princes. Princes are the sons of kings. If we desire to be sons, then strong drink is not for us.Solomon informs us what strong drink is for:

“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.” Proverbs 31:6

Strong drink is for those who are ready to perish. When God’s people partake of strong drink, they are ready to perish Spiritually. Those who desire to be partakers of our promise of eternal life have no business with strong drink.

We must be cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Anything that defiles the flesh affects the spirit. We cannot stand clean before God with filthy flesh. As Paul revealed to the Corinthians, we must perfect holiness in the fear of God, II Corinthians 7:7. This is not verbal holiness. Holiness comes from cleansed flesh and a cleansed spirit. The apostle James discloses:

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8

The Holy Spirit inspired James to foretell God’s promise if we would draw nigh (near) to God. If we draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to us. The condition for fulfilling this promise is that we must cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. David, the Psalmist asked:

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” Psalm 24:3-4

Who is going to ascend into God’s holy hill, the Holy Mount of New Jerusalem? Only those who have cleansed their hands and have purified their hearts, only those who do not touch the unclean things of this life, or allow their thinking to be influenced by the degradations of the world will ascend to God’s holy hill.

James calls those who have not cleansed their hands, nor purified their hearts, double-minded. He warns:

“A double minded man is unstable in ALL his ways.” James 1:8

The phrase double minded means “divided in one’s thinking, in one’s loyalties, in one’s devotions, and in one’s worship.” God promised through the pen of Isaiah:

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3

The whole earth is seeking peace. They do not have peace because they are double minded. This is true of many of God’s people. They do not know peace because they are double minded, desiring both the treasures of this life and the blessing of God. They trust more in their bank account, than they do their Bible. They know more about the ways of the world, then they do about the ways of God. Their life is in turmoil because their hands are not clean. They have touched the unclean things. Their heart is not pure because it has been contaminated by the things of this life. Paul disclosed to Timothy:

“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” Titus 1:15

God’s people need to check out their thinking. Is it pure, or is it defiled? A double minded man cannot please God. The Psalmist’s prayer needs to be our prayer:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

We need to allow God to create a clean heart in us. Our thinking and our spiritual walk must be changed if we are to ascend unto His holy hill and be acceptable in His sight. God warns in the very first Psalm:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1

If we want to be blessed of the Lord, then we must not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. We must seek Godly counsel in everything we do. The ungodly must not influence our thinking in any way. We are not to stand in the way of sinners. The word stand means “to take a stand, or to remain unmovable”. Many of God’s people get involved in causes. They believe these are righteous causes. They picket, they march, they get thrown in jail. They justify such actions, but forget one simple fact. As God’s people we are supposed to bring glory to His name. All such actions bring reproach upon His name.

Jesus is our example. We need to ask ourselves, “Is this the way He acted?” How many causes did Jesus fight? When we fight causes, or take a stand against a cause, we get in the way of sinners. In so doing we become their judge. God is their judge, and if their ways do not please Him, He will bring His judgment, not ours.

We are also warned not to sit in the seat of the scornful. The word scornful means “to speak arrogantly, to boast, to mock, and scorn”. Many Christians believe they have the right to flaunt their righteousness and look down their long, pious noses at those who are less fortunate than themselves. When they flaunt their righteousness, they are flaunting their own self-righteousness, not the righteousness of God. As Isaiah proclaimed:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6

The self-righteous who sit in the seat of the scornful are as an unclean thing, and their righteousness is as filthy rags because they have touched the unclean thing. Their lives and their thinking has been defiled by the world. God has promised these will fade as a leaf and because of their iniquity they will be taken away like the wind.

Our God is looking for a separated people, those who have come out from among the world. He is looking for those who have separated themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually from the world. He is looking for those who will not touch the unclean things. To these our God has promised:

“. . . I will receive you . . . ” II Corinthians 6:17

The word receive means “to treat with favor”. God has promised if we meet the conditions He has set down for us in His Word, He would treat us with favor. Paul proclaimed to the church at Corinth:

“For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God in us.” II Corinthians 1:20

All God’s promises to us are yea (yes) and amen (so be it). The prophet Isaiah declared to God’s promised seed:

“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” Isaiah 1:19

If we are willing and obedient, then God will receive us and treat us favorably, and we will eat the good of the land. God spoke through His servant Moses:

“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 28:1-2

This same promise is true today. If we hearken diligently unto the voice of God, and follow His commandments as He has laid them down in His Word, He will set us on high above all nations of the earth. As the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle Peter:

“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9

God promised all His blessings would be poured out upon this holy, separated people. He promises all His blessings will overtake us. In other words, we cannot get out-of-the-way of His blessings if we separate ourselves unto Him. Jesus asked the multitude:

“And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46

The Lord could ask the same question today to those who make up His church. Why bother calling Him, Lord, Lord, if we refuse to be willing and obedient to His Word?

Paul was inspired to write to the church at Corinth to come out from among them, to be separate, and touch not the unclean things. Then he continues:

“And (He) will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” II Corinthians 6:18

Again, we discover God’s beautiful promise to His people when His conditions are met. When, and only when, these conditions are met, will He be our Father. Only then will we become His sons and daughters. God is looking for, and will only accept a separated, sold out, overcoming people. These alone will make up His body and inhabit His Kingdom. Today is the Day of Preparation. Come out from among them and Be Ye Separate! Then our Father will receive you.

“Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 150:6

It is often claimed that “God instituted the Sabbath in Eden” because of the  connection between the Sabbath and creation in Exodus  20:11. Although God’s rest on the seventh day (Genesis 2:3)  did foreshadow a future Sabbath law, there is no biblical record of the Sabbath  before the children of Israel left the land of Egypt. Nowhere in Scripture is  there any hint that Sabbath-keeping was practiced from Adam to Moses.

The Word of God makes it quite clear that Sabbath observance was a special sign  between God and Israel: “The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating  it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between  me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the  earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested” (Exodus  31:16–17).

In Deuteronomy 5, Moses restates the Ten Commandments to  the next generation of Israelites. Here, after commanding Sabbath observance in  verses 12–14, Moses gives the reason the Sabbath was given to the nation Israel:  “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you  out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your  God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy  5:15).

God’s intent for giving the Sabbath to Israel was not that  they would remember creation, but that they would remember their Egyptian  slavery and the Lord’s deliverance. Note the requirements for Sabbath-keeping: A  person placed under that Sabbath law could not leave his home on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:29), he could not  build a fire (Exodus  35:3), and he could not cause anyone else to work (Deuteronomy 5:14). A  person breaking the Sabbath law was to be put to death (Exodus 31:15; Numbers  15:32–35).

An examination of New Testament passages shows us four  important points: 1) Whenever Christ appears in His resurrected form and the day  is mentioned, it is always the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, 9, 10; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:1, 13, 15; John 20:1926). 2) The only time the  Sabbath is mentioned from Acts through Revelation it is for evangelistic  purposes to the Jews and the setting is usually in a synagogue (Acts chapters  13–18). Paul wrote, “to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews” (1  Corinthians 9:20). Paul did not go to the synagogue to fellowship with and  edify the saints, but to convict and save the lost. 3) Once Paul states “from  now on I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6),  the Sabbath is never again mentioned. And 4) instead of suggesting adherence to  the Sabbath day, the remainder of the New Testament implies the opposite  (including the one exception to point 3 above, found in Colossians  2:16).

Looking more closely at point 4 above will reveal that there  is no obligation for the New Testament believer to keep the Sabbath, and will  also show that the idea of a Sunday “Christian Sabbath” is also unscriptural. As  discussed above, there is one time the Sabbath is mentioned after Paul began to  focus on the Gentiles, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or  drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a  Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality,  however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:16–17). The Jewish Sabbath was abolished at  the cross where Christ “canceled the written code, with its regulations” (Colossians  2:14).

This idea is repeated more than once in the New Testament:  “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every  day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards  one day as special, does so to the Lord” (Romans  14:5–6a). “But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is  it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish  to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months  and seasons and years” (Galatians  4:9–10).

But some claim that a mandate by Constantine in A.D. 321  “changed” the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. On what day did the early church  meet for worship? Scripture never mentions any Sabbath (Saturday) gatherings by  believers for fellowship or worship. However, there are clear passages that  mention the first day of the week. For instance, Acts 20:7 states that “on the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” In  1  Corinthians 16:2 Paul urges the Corinthian believers “on the first day of  every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his  income.” Since Paul designates this offering as “service” in 2 Corinthians 9:12,  this collection must have been linked with the Sunday worship service of the  Christian assembly. Historically Sunday, not Saturday, was the normal meeting  day for Christians in the church, and its practice dates back to the first  century.

The Sabbath was given to Israel, not the church. The Sabbath is  still Saturday, not Sunday, and has never been changed. But the Sabbath is part  of the Old Testament Law, and Christians are free from the bondage of the Law  (Galatians  4:1-26; Romans  6:14). Sabbath keeping is not required of the Christian—be it Saturday or  Sunday. The first day of the week, Sunday, the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10)  celebrates the New Creation, with Christ as our resurrected Head. We are not  obligated to follow the Mosaic Sabbath—resting, but are now free to follow the  risen Christ—serving. The Apostle Paul said that each individual Christian  should decide whether to observe a Sabbath rest, “One man considers one day more  sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be  fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans  14:5). We are to worship God every day, not just on Saturday or  Sunday.

There are about 30 biblical references to vows, most of which are from the Old  Testament. The books of Leviticus and Numbers have several references to vows in  relation to offerings and sacrifices. There were dire consequences for the  Israelites who made and broke vows, especially vows to God.

The story  of Jephthah illustrates the foolishness of making vows without understanding the  consequences. Before leading the Israelites into battle against the Ammonites,  Jephthah—described as a mighty man of valor—made a rash vow that he would give  to the Lord whoever first came out of doors to meet him if he returned home as  the victor. When the Lord granted him victory, the one who came out to meet him  was his daughter. Jephthah remembered his vow and offered her to the Lord (Judges 11:29-40).  Whether or not Jephthah should have kept this vow is dealt with in another  article. What this account shows us is the foolishness of rash vows.

Perhaps this is why Jesus gave a new commandment concerning vows. “Again, you  have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but  keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all:  either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his  footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not  swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let  your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No ,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the  evil one” (Matthew  5:33-37).

The principle here is clear for Christians: do not make  vows, either to the Lord or to one another. First, we are unable to know for  sure whether we will be able to keep vows. The fact that we are prone to the  errors in judgment which are part of our fallen nature means that we may make  vows foolishly or out of immaturity. Further, we don’t know what the future will  bring—only God does. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow (James 4:14), so to make a vow that we will do or not do  something is foolish. God is the one in control, not us, and He “works all  things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His  purpose” (Romans  8:28). Knowing this, we can see that it is unnecessary to make vows and that  it indicates a lack of trust in Him. Finally, Jesus commands that our word be  sufficient without making vows. When we say “yes” or “no,” that’s exactly what  we should mean. Adding vows or oaths to our words opens us up to the influence  of Satan whose desire is to trap us and compromise our Christian  testimony.

If we have made a vow foolishly and realized we cannot or  should not keep it, we should confess it to God, knowing that He is “faithful  and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” A  broken vow, while serious, is not an unforgivable matter if taken to the Lord in  true confession. God will not hold us to vows made imprudently, but He expects  us to obey Jesus and refrain from making vows in the future.

The key to understanding this commandment is in the definition of the word  “covet.” Two different Hebrew words are used in the passages condemning coveting  (Exodus  20:17; Deuteronomy  5:21), and both mean “to lust after or to long for with great desire.” Since  the commandments are given as “you shall not’s,” the desire in this case is for  something that is not the property of the desirer and not rightfully his to long  after. In this commandment, the Israelites are told not to lust after their  neighbor’s possessions—his house, land, ox or donkey, or the people in his  life—his wife or servants, both male and female. The Israelites were not to  desire, long for, or set their hearts on anything that belonged to anyone else. Whereas several of the commandments prohibit certain actions, such as  murder and theft, this is one of the commandments that address the inner person,  his heart and mind. As James 1:15 tells us, the inner person is where sin originates, and in this case,  covetousness is the forerunner of all manner of sin, among them theft, burglary,  and embezzlement. At its root, coveting is the result of envy, a sin which, once  it takes root in the heart, leads to worse sins. Jesus reiterated this very  thought in the Sermon on the Mount when He said that lust in the heart is every  bit as sinful as committing adultery (Matthew  5:28). Envy goes beyond casting a longing glance at the neighbor’s new car.  Once dwelled upon, envy of the neighbor’s possessions can turn to feelings of  resentment and hatred for the neighbor himself. That can turn into resentment  against God and questioning Him: “Why can’t I have what he has, Lord? Don’t you  love me enough to give me what I want?” God’s reasons for condemning  covetousness are good ones. At its very core, envy is love of self. Envious,  selfish citizens are unhappy and discontented citizens. A society built of such  people is a weak one because envious malcontents, as stated before, will be more  likely to commit crimes against one another, further weakening the societal  structure. Furthermore, the New Testament identifies covetousness as a form of  idolatry, a sin which God detests (Colossians  3:5). In the end, envy and covetousness are Satan’s tools to distract us  from pursuing the only thing that will ever make us happy and content—God  Himself. God’s Word tells us that “godliness with contentment is great gain” and  that we should be content with the basic necessities of life (1 Timothy 6:6-8),  because true happiness is not attained by things, but by a personal relationship  with God through Jesus Christ. By this alone do we gain that which is worthy,  true, solid, satisfying, and durable—the unsearchable riches of God’s grace.

Part of the Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, this 9th commandment  forbids the Israelites from bearing false witness or giving false testimony  against one another (Exodus  20:16; Deuteronomy  5:20). To bear false witness against others is to lie about them, especially  for personal gain. The Hebrew word translated “neighbor” in this commandment can  mean an associate, a brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover, or  neighbor. In other words, the Israelites were commanded to be truthful in all  things, but especially when speaking about another person. The people were not  to lie publicly, as in a court of law by laying at another’s feet any false  charge that could injure him, nor were they to lie privately by whispering,  talebearing, backbiting, slandering, or destroying his character by innuendos,  sly insinuations, and evil suggestions.

The reasons for God’s  prohibiting lying and testifying falsely against one’s neighbor are three-fold.  First, God’s people are to reflect God’s character. Jehovah is a truthful God  who does not and cannot lie. Numbers  23:19 tells us, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man,  that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise  and not fulfill?” The people who were called by God’s name and who represented  Him in the heathen world were expected to accurately reflect His character.  Lying to or about one another brought reproach upon His holy name, and this He  would not tolerate. Second, bearing false witness against another was  destructive to the individual who was the victim of the lie, and he suffered by  it in his character, credibility and reputation, as well as in his trade and  business. Leviticus  19:18 makes it clear that the Israelites were to love their neighbors as  themselves, a command reiterated by both Jesus and Paul (Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:9). Loving our neighbors precludes lying about  them.

Third, false witness was seen as so destructive to society that  courts of law, both in the days of the Israelites and today, could function only  if the witnesses who were called to testify could be trusted to tell the truth.  Without a trustworthy judicial system, based on eyewitness testimony from  reliable, truthful witnesses, societies are at risk of the breakdown of law and  order. When this happens, chaos ensues and the innocent suffer.

As noted  before, the New Testament is equally condemning of false witness. Colossians 3:9-10 explains the reason for the continued prohibition against lying. Christians are  new creations in Christ (2  Corinthians 5:17) and as such, we reflect His nature. We have been released  from our “old self” with its evil practices such as lying and bearing false  witness. As the Israelites were to reflect the character of Jehovah, Christians  are to reflect to the world the character of Christ that identifies us as His  own.

“You shall not steal” (Exodus  20:15) is one of the Ten Commandments people can readily recall, even though  it is number eight in the Decalogue. And while there may be those who attempt to  undermine the authority of the Ten Commandments by suggesting it is part of the  Old Covenant, our Lord Jesus, speaking to the rich young ruler, quoted five of  them, including this one (Matthew  19:18). The Ten Commandments are part of the moral law of God and, unlike  the ceremonial and sacrificial laws of the Old Testament which were given to  Israel, they apply to all men in all ages.

Stealing is defined as  “taking another person’s property without his or her permission.” However, there  are many other forms of theft. For example, taking longer over our lunch breaks  at work or arriving late and leaving early are actually forms of stealing from  our employers, stealing time they have paid for. Taking advantage of employers  in that way indicates a lack of love for others. The apostle Paul, when  discussing God’s commandments, sums up the entire law in the same way as our  Lord Jesus did, with “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31; Romans  13:9). And, again like Jesus, he states that this is the fulfilment of the  “Law” (Matthew  22:39-40). So, we know from such instructions that “Do not steal,” as with  all of the Ten Commandments, is about “loving one another” (John 13:34-35).

Victims of theft know the horrible feeling it produces. The very act of someone  taking what may have been an especially precious gift from a loved one really  pierces our hearts and makes us feel vulnerable and unsafe. Theft has a  tremendous impact not only on individuals, but on society as a whole. Theft  disturbs societal stability and the results are feelings of fear and insecurity  and a desire for revenge. One has only to look at some third world countries  where laws against stealing are ignored to see how detrimental it is to the  population. God’s laws are not only moral and spiritual; they are infinitely  practical as well.

Christians have received tremendous physical and  spiritual gifts from God, and we should desire to give back to Him all that we  have. When we withhold the things that are rightly His—our time and talents, our  possessions and our finances, indeed our very lives—we are in effect stealing  from Him. The prophet Malachi put it this way when addressing the Israelites:  “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ ‘In  tithes and offerings. You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because  you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be  food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will  not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you  will not have room enough for it’” (Malachi  3:8-10). One day we will be judged by God and expected to give an account of  what we did with the gifts God has so generously bestowed on us (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10Hebrews 4:13).

Before we can answer this question, we need to be clear on the definition of  adultery. The dictionary defines “adultery” as “voluntary sexual intercourse  between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.” The Bible  would concur with this definition. In Leviticus  18:20, God told Moses, “Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s  wife and defile yourself with her,” and in Deuteronomy 22:22, we find a similar definition: “If a  man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her  and the woman must die.” It is clear from these definitions that adultery refers  to a consensual sexual union. What is not explicitly clear is whether or not  both partners in this illicit sexual union are married. The biblical commands  prohibit a man from taking another man’s wife, but do not indicate whether or  not the man is also married. Be that as it may, it is safe to say that if a  person who is married willingly seeks a sexual encounter with another person,  whether or not that person is also married, both people are guilty of committing  adultery.

God’s reasons for instituting His commandment against adultery  are two-fold. First, God established the institution of marriage as being  between one man and one woman (Genesis  2:24; reiterated by Jesus in Matthew  19:5 and parallel passages). God created marriage to be the building block  of His creation and of society. Even after the fall (Genesis 3), marriage is  still a sacred union and the foundation for society. In marriage, the full  expression of the image of God is made manifest as the man and the woman  complement and complete each other. The Bible also teaches us that marriage is  the vehicle through which God designed the procreation of the human race and the  preservation of godly offspring (Genesis  1:28, 9:1; Malachi 2:15). With such a  premium placed on marriage, it’s no wonder God would seek to protect this union  from defilement (Hebrews  13:4), and thus prohibit adultery, which is the violation of the sacred  marriage union.

The second reason for the commandment is found in Leviticus  18:1-5. As God’s chosen people, the Israelites were to reflect God’s  character in the Promised Land. God commanded His people to be holy for He is  holy (Leviticus  11:44), and part of holy living is sexual purity. God did not want His  people emulating the behavior of the Egyptians from whom He delivered them, nor  did God want His people copying the behavior of the people into whose land He  was bringing them. The implication was that adultery (and other sexual sins) was  commonplace in the lands where the Israelites had been and were going  to.

So now we know what adultery is and why God instituted this command.  Finally, we need to learn what God meant by the command itself. As with all of  the Ten Commandments, there are things we need to avoid doing (the negative part  of the command) and things we need to be doing (the positive part of the  command). The negative part of the command is self-explanatory: Do not commit  adultery. However, there is more to this command than the simple avoidance of  extramarital relationships. One can make the argument that wrapped up in this  prohibition are all sorts of sexual sin (e.g., incest, fornication,  homosexuality, etc.), and that argument can be made on the basis of chapters  such as Leviticus 18. Also important is avoiding things that would lead or tempt  one to consider adultery, such as the unnecessary withholding of conjugal rights  (1  Corinthians 7:1-5). Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, made further  clarification of this command (Matthew  5:27-30) by including all kinds of lustful thoughts. Fantasizing about  having sexual relations with someone is the same, in God’s eyes, as actually  committing adultery. Therefore, we must avoid all things that would create  within us lustful thoughts (e.g., suggestive songs, sensuous movies,  pornography, etc.). We should also avoid immodest clothing or anything that  might cause a brother or sister in the Lord to stumble in this area (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3).

The  positive part of the command would entail doing the opposite of what the command  prohibits: chastity in body, mind, words and action; keeping watch over what we  take in with our eyes and the other senses; an attitude of temperance and  self-control (i.e., moderation); being discerning over the company we keep;  dressing modestly; and fulfilling our marriage vows in regards to sexual  relations and cohabitation. Regarding sexual sin, the Apostle Paul said, “Flee  from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,  but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).  When it comes to sexual sin, the best course of action is to remove ourselves  from temptation and avoid such situations altogether.

Adultery is the  complete corruption of God’s good creation of marriage. Through the sin of  adultery, Satan tempts us to seek sexual fulfillment in avenues other than the  one God has ordained—within the bounds of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.  Adultery rips at the fabric of society because it tears apart marriages and  families which are the building blocks of society. God’s law in general, and the  7th commandment in particular, is held up as the standard for Christian  behavior.

Simply stated, the sixth of the Ten Commandments forbids the unjustified taking  of a human life. However, the commandment itself has a couple of interesting  elements that bear mentioning. First and foremost, different Bible translations  give the appearance of different meanings, and there is potential for  misunderstanding the actual meaning of the verse. Second, man was never created  for the act of murdering another, and there needs to be an explanation for such  a violent and final act towards another human being. Third, because of the  translational challenge, we need to understand the difference between “murder”  and “killing.” And last but not least, how does God view murder? To God, murder  is not just physical in nature but also the condition of one’s heart towards  another.

There are two different Hebrew words (ratsakh, mut) and  two Greek words (phoneuo, apokteino) for “murder” and “killing.” One  means “to put to death,” and the other means “to murder.” The latter one is the  one prohibited by the Ten Commandments, not the former. In fact, ratsakh has a broader definition than the English word “murder.” Ratsakh also  covers deaths due to carelessness or neglect but is never used when describing  killing during wartime. That is why most modern translations render the sixth  commandment “You shall not murder” rather than “You shall not kill.” However, a  very large issue can arise depending on which translation one studies. The  ever-popular King James Version renders the verse as “Thou shalt not kill,”  therefore opening the door to misinterpreting the verse altogether. If the  intended meaning of “Thou shalt not kill” was just that—no killing—it would  render all of the God-endorsed bloodletting done by the nation of Israel a  violation of God’s own commandment (Deuteronomy 20). But God does not break His  own commandments, so, clearly, the verse does not call for a complete moratorium  on the taking of another human life.

Why does man murder? We know that  we were created in God’s image (Genesis  1:27) and we were made to live in harmony with God and with our fellow man.  This harmony became impossible once sin entered into the picture (Genesis 3).  With sin came the propensity for acting violently against one another. Anger,  jealousy, pride and hatred can fuel man’s evil bent towards life-ending  aggression. The first recorded act of murder was when Cain killed his brother  Abel (Genesis  4:8). From that moment on, taking the life of another has been commonplace  and, in some circles of society, acceptable. However, to God every life is  important, and since God knew that man was sinful and evil and had become  “lawless,” He enacted guidelines that would seek to modify man’s behavior (1 John 3:4).

So, is  there a difference between murder and killing? First, it is important to note  that not all killing is wrong. For instance, the apostle Paul talks about the  right of the state to take the lives of evildoers (Romans  13:1-7). This relates to what is commonly referred to as capital punishment.  Most countries have consequences for murder. In some cases this requires the  life of the perpetrator and a suitable means of putting one to death is chosen  and administered (Matthew  5:21; Exodus  21:14). Another instance of acceptable “killing” is that which is done  during times of war and at the command of superiors. There were quite a few  instances in Scripture where God endorsed and allowed the taking of other lives  (1 Samuel 11; Judges 6–7). And finally, although far from acceptable,  manslaughter is yet another form of killing someone. This unintentional act  apparently happened so often in biblical times that cities of refuge were  designated for the manslayer to seek refuge in (Exodus  21:13; Joshua 20). Again, it was never God’s intent to have to use such a  drastic measure as taking one’s life to rectify a situation. So, God does make  exceptions for the taking of another’s life as long as it lines up with His  will. However, premeditated murder of an individual is never God’s will.

What is murder in God’s eyes? From the human perspective, murder is the  physical act of taking another’s life. However, we also must consider that God  defines murder as any thought or feeling of deep-seated hatred or malice  against another person. In other words, it is more than just a physical act  that constitutes murder to God, who tells us that “everyone who hates his  brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in  him” (1 John 3:15  ESV). When we harbor hatred in our hearts for another, we have committed the  sin of murder in God’s eyes. The disdain towards another person never has to be  demonstrated outwardly because God looks upon the heart for the truth (1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 15:19). As  Christians and as human beings, we know that unjustified killing is wrong. God’s  Word is very clear on this point: “You shall not murder.” And what God says we  must obey, or we face the consequences on judgment day.

God exhorts us to honor  father and mother. He values honoring parents enough to include it in the Ten  Commandments (Exodus  20:12) and again in the New Testament: “Children, obey your parents in the  Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first  commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you, and that you may  live long on the earth” (Ephesians  6:1-3). Honoring parents is the only command in Scripture that promises long  life as a reward. Those who honor their parents are blessed (Jeremiah 35:18-19). In  contrast, those with a “depraved mind” and those who exhibit ungodliness in the  last days are characterized by disobedience to parents (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy  3:2).

Solomon, the wisest man, urged children to respect their  parents (Proverbs  1:8; 13:1; 30:17). Although we may  no longer be directly under their authority, we cannot outgrow God’s command to  honor our parents. Even Jesus, God the Son, submitted Himself to both His  earthly parents (Luke 2:51) and  His heavenly Father (Matthew  26:39). Following Christ’s example, we should treat our parents the way we  would reverentially approach our heavenly Father (Hebrews  12:9; Malachi  1:6).

Obviously, we are commanded to honor our parents, but how?  Honor them with both actions and attitudes (Mark 7:6).  Honor their unspoken as well as spoken wishes. “A wise son heeds his father’s  instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1). In Matthew 15:3-9, Jesus  reminded the Pharisees of the command of God to honor their father and mother.  They were obeying the letter of the law, but they had added their own traditions  that essentially overruled it. While they honored their parents in word, their  actions proved their real motive. Honor is more than lip service. The word  “honor” in this passage is a verb and, as such, demands a right action.

We should seek to honor our parents in much the same way that we strive to  bring glory to God—in our thoughts, words, and actions. For a young child,  obeying parents goes hand in hand with honoring them. That includes listening,  heeding, and submitting to their authority. After children mature, the obedience  that they learned as children will serve them well in honoring other authorities  such as government, police, and employers.

While we are required to  honor parents, that doesn’t include imitating ungodly ones (Ezekiel 20:18-19). If a  parent ever instructs a child to do something that clearly contradicts God’s  commands, that child must obey God rather than his/her parents (Acts 5:29).

Honor begets honor. God will not  honor those who will not obey His command to honor their parents. If we desire  to please God and be blessed, we should honor our parents. Honoring is not easy,  is not always fun, and certainly is not possible in our own strength. But honor  is a certain path to our purpose in life—glorifying God. “Children, obey your  parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Colossians  3:20).